Shaw arrives in the nick of time

Nicky Shaw

Nicky Shaw celebrates another wicket as England bowled New Zealand out

Nicky Shaw was the accidental hero as England won their third World Cup with a thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand.

Seemingly with one hand on the trophy after they reached 109 for one in reply to New Zealand's 166 all-out, England then lost five wickets for just 40 runs as the final turned on its head.

While others lost their heads, Shaw, who only found out she was playing minutes before the toss after Jenny Gunn failed to shake off a calf injury, kept her composure to see England home with the most valuable 17 not out she is ever likely to score.

Shaw watched as Holly Colvin struck the winning runs with 23 balls remaining before embracing her team-mate while the rest of the England squad invaded the pitch in celebration.

Earlier in the day, Shaw took a career best 4-34 to dismantle the New Zealand top order in a spell which included three wickets in 15 balls.

England's plans were thrown into disarray when Gunn pulled up after bowling in the warm-up, but Shaw grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffin won the toss and elected to bat first but it was England, inspired by a pumped-up Katherine Brunt, who went for the jugular.

The Barnsley pace bowler regularly beat the bat and deserved a wicket although the pressure she generated resulted in a wicket at the other end, Isa Guha tempting Kate Pulford with a wide delivery which she slashed hard to gully where Claire Taylor held smartly.

Enter Shaw to steal the show.

First she dismissed the dangerous Suzie Bates, caught by Caroline Atkins at mid-on, then next ball induced Amy Satterthwaite to nick behind.

Nicky Shaw

England congratulate Claire Taylor after she caught Kate Pulford off Isa Guha's bowling

It got even better for England when Shaw sent back Tiffin, the skipper edging to Sarah Taylor for 30 as New Zealand slipped to 62 for four after 16 overs.

Colvin chose the perfect time to pick up her 50th ODI wicket, looping up a tempting delivery which the fluent Sarah McGlashen punched straight to the dependable Lydia Greenway at midwicket.

It was soon 92 for six when fellow spinner Laura Marsh, an injury doubt before the game having been struck on the wrist by Brunt in the nets, followed Colvin's lead by bowling Aimee Mason as she attempted to sweep.

England's day got even better when the returning Brunt found Sarah Tsukigawa's edge with Taylor taking her third catch of the game.

Lucy Doolan and Nicola Browne mounted an entertaining rearguard action with the former regularly peppering the fence as New Zealand reached 134 for seven when the second drinks break was taken after 37 overs.

One stroke highlighted Doolan's growing confidence - an audacious scoop off Shaw whilst down on one knee.

The pesky 21-year-old continued on her merry way, taking her side past 150 with a cheeky reverse sweep off Charlotte Edwards. The boundary, Doolan's eighth, also took her past her previous best ODI score and brought up the 50-partnership with the more restrained Browne.

New Zealand opted to take their batting powerplay at the start of the 45th over, Browne greeting the decision by pulling Edwards for four through square leg.

Laura Marsh

Laura Marsh appeals during the New Zealand innings where they were 166 all out in 47.2 overs

Marsh finally ended the 63-run partnership, which came off 99 balls, when she fired a quicker ball down the leg side past the advancing Doolan who was stumped by Taylor for an excellent 48. It was the off-spinner's 16th wicket of a wonderful World Cup.

Edwards reduced New Zealand to 166 for nine in the next over, the 47th, by trapping Sophie Devine leg before and the innings ended moments later when Shaw ended Browne's 78-ball vigil by pinning her in front.

England made a perfect start in search of realising their World Cup ambition as Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins saw off the new balls with few alarms.

Atkins adopted her normal sedate approach, working the ball through the infield to pick up singles and cleverly rotate the strike. Apart from an inside edge which flew for four, the opener had to wait until the 20th over for her next boundary - a delightful cover drive off Doolan.

Taylor, on the otherhand, played herself in before latching on to anything short in length, launching into a series of vicious pulls and square cuts as she cruised to 39 before eventually flicking a half-volley into Tiffin's hands at midwicket.

New batter Claire Taylor looked in sublime form, cracking four boundaries as she moved effortlessly to 21 during a 35-run stand with Atkins.

But just as she looked capable of leading England past the winning post, she dashed down the wicket to Mason and was bowled by a full delivery as England stuttered to 109 for two in the 27th over.

Claire Taylor

Star batter Claire Taylor is bowled as England slipped from 109 for one to 149 for six in Sydney

The England dressing room would have suffered a bout of the jitters when, with just two more runs added, Atkins, who had crept to 40 from 85 balls, sliced a long hop from Mason straight into Devine's hands.

Jitters turned to churning stomachs when talismanic captain Edwards was adjudged caught behind off Doolan, who finished with 3-23, to leave England 121 for four.

That the skipper had to drag herself away from the crease, turning her head to watch the replay on the big screen suggested she was not too happy with the decision.

Beth Morgan soothed the nerves with a couple of boundaries but the mini-revival did not last long, Greenway mistiming a lofted drive off Mason straight to Satterthwaite.

The wicket prompted coach Mark Lane to leave his position in the corporate boxes and trudge down to see his team on the boundary edge.

Shaw marched to the crease seemingly unpeturbed at needing 28 from 11.3 overs, immediately unfurling a sublime cover drive off Devine which raced for four.

Fingernails were further gnawed when Shaw and Morgan, having removed 10 from the target, got in a muddle attempting a suicidal single, the latter being run out by a combination of Tsukigawa, Priest and Pulford.

But Shaw rose tall and dragged England home.